Updated 02:25 AM EDT, Sat, Oct 24, 2020

How Other Countries Celebrate Valentine's Day

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An abundance of hearts and cupid cutouts in schools, malls, and other public places marks the arrival of Valentines Day. However, while Americans celebrate the day with hearts, flowers, and chocolates, there are places in the world where Valentines day is not quite as fluffy.

Check out these Valentine traditions in other parts of the globe:

Japan -- Japanese women are usually shy and reserved when it comes to expressing their feelings, but on Valentines day, they take it as the chance to tell their crushes how they feel. They present their lovers with gifts, usually chocolates, to express their love. Meanwhile, men will reciprocate the gifts a month later on "White Day" which is celebrated on March 14, giving women gifts like lingerie and jewelry.

Finland and Estonia -- More of a friendship holiday than a romanticized event, February 14th is called "Ystavan Paiva" which literally translates to "Friend's Day." At this time, people exchange gifts and cards. There is one romantic thing related to this day in Finland and Estonia, though: it's a popular day to get engaged, or better yet, a good day to get married.

Taiwan -- The Taiwanese celebrate Valentine's on February 14, but it's not the only time that they do so. They have a special celebration on July 7 as well, based on the lunar calendar. On these days, men buy expensive bouquets of roses, and numbers hold significance: One red rose means "an only love," eleven roses means "a favorite," ninety-nine roses stand for "forever," and 108 means "marry me." Sweet!

While many countries celebrate Valentine's, not the same can be said for more conservative countries. In the Middle East, for instance, public displays of affection are not allowed on normal days, let alone on Valentine's. However, some people still manage to celebrate it away from the prying eyes of the public. Saudi Arabia is one such example. 

Saudi Arabia -- it is illegal for vendors to sell roses and love-themed cards in the days leading up to Valentine's because conservative Muslims think this promotes alcohol consumption and premarital sex: big taboos in their culture. That said, PDA is not allowed in Saudi Arabia. For couples who want to celebrate Valentine's, however, there's an underground market for all the lovey-dovey things, but one has to be careful as police officers are pretty strict about attempts to celebrate the holiday.

How are you planning to celebrate this special day of love?

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